Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.
The Trump White House is reportedly standing in the way and halting the start of an FBI investigation into the sexual assault accusation against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
According to Bloomberg, the FBI needs a request from the White House before it can launch a probe into the allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when they were both in high school.
But the White House has not given the green light for the FBI to look into the matter, and the agency can’t move forward until it has permission.
Kavanaugh is accused of sexually assaulting and attempting to rape Ford at a party when she was 15 and he was 17. Although Ford first spoke of the allegations years ago and contacted the Washington Post tip line in July, the allegations were not made public until last week out of concern for her privacy.
Then, on Sunday, Ford came forward and made the courageous decision to allow her identity to be made public for the first time.
The FBI had already completed its initial background investigation of Kavanaugh before the allegations surfaced, but there is mounting pressure on the agency to perform a more thorough investigation in light of the new and disturbing revelations.
But unlike criminal probes, “FBI background investigations are conducted under specific procedures and through requests from government agencies — which in Kavanaugh’s case would come from the White House,” Bloomberg reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter.
And with the Trump White House at the helm, investigating sexual assault accusations isn’t exactly high on the priority list — or on the list at all.
For its part, the FBI is reportedly well equipped for such investigations. According to Bloomberg, “the bureau is accustomed to doing professional background investigations, even when the evidence is thin.”
Ronald Hosko, a former senior FBI agent who is now the president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, told Bloomberg that an investigation of this nature is well within the purview of the agency — but they can’t move forward if the White House refuses to issue a request.
In cases like this involving background investigations, “the FBI is basically working for the White House,” Hosko said. “Their job is to dig into the details and let the White House counsel know if there is derogatory information.”
He said it would make sense for the FBI to investigate the allegation, and noted that the agency could start by interviewing Kavanaugh and Ford (separately), then searching for additional witnesses and looking for corroborating information.
“You can go get yearbooks and start interviewing high school classmates,” he explained. “For creative-minded FBI people, they can generate leads all day long.”
In other words, allowing the FBI to vet the allegations against Kavanaugh could yield corroborating evidence — and that’s a risk Trump is apparently unwilling to take.
Instead, he and his allies in Congress and right-wing media have decided that launching a smear campaign aimed at discrediting Ford is the safest option.
After all, you can’t find evidence if you don’t look for it — but that doesn’t mean the evidence can’t find you.
Published with permission of The American Independent.